The 31 Day Nail Art Challenge – Day 1: Red & Day 2: Orange

Every year the very talented Sarah of Chalkboard Nails puts together a 31-day nail art challenge. Not only do I love any excuse to do nail art, but this sort of marathon challenge really appeals to my 8-time-NaNoWriMo-veteran brain. So obviously I’m all over this. Here’s the gist.


Every day throughout September (plus 1) there’s a new prompt. Some are as simple as a color scheme, while others involve intermediate+ nail art techniques. Beyond these guidelines, there’s a lot of freedom to make it as simple or complex as you want. To keep things interesting, and because abundance of choice can be just as paralyzing as no choice at all, I’ve tacked on a couple of additional challenges for myself.

Objective 1: Freehand all the things!

By far my favorite type of nail art is freehand painting (shoutout to my mama for giving me my first set of proper craft paints last Christmas. Thanks, Mom!). I’ve been chugging along at it for about a year. When uninspired, I often resort to nail vinyls, striping tape, and other tools of the trade that require a LOT of patience but a very different kind of technical precision. For this month, I’m challenging myself to freehand each design. For example…

Day 1: Red

red feathers
Spoiler: an accidental agricultural theme develops from here.

Simple yet elegant feathers on a red background kick off the month. I put my own touch on a design I saw in a YouTube tutorial, and used Nine Zero Lacquer’s Black Cove for my accent nails.

Objective 2: Learn2Blend, noob

I’m sort of stuck in my comfort zone of simple lines and outlines of shapes. As much as possible, I want to try new techniques like blending colors and working on shadow and depth. Usually, this will mean recreating someone else’s design to figure out how it’s done. After all, a great artist once told me that all artists steal.

Day 2: Orange

orange orange nails
That SQUISH though…

For this design, I followed another YouTube tutorial and achieved what might be one of my favorite looks EVER. I absolutely love how the gradient from orange to yellow turned out. And that’s all paintbrush – no sponge blending here!

What better base for these fruity delights than the squishy-delicious Bell of Winterfell? I thought the polish looked a bit dull in the bottle, but once on the nail it really came to life. Everything about this polish is perfection – the sparkle, the squish, and let’s not forget the name!

So here’s the start of my marathon of indulgence. Please come back and check out more designs as the month goes on. I would love to hear what you think. Which of these is your favorite? Have you ever attempted the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge? Do you think I’m completely mad for trying?




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